17 Ultra Marathons in 17 months

Back in 2012 I joined the Under Armour What’s Beautiful Competition. It was more like a social community made up of women on a mission to redefine the female athlete.  Before long I was hopelessly addicted to this community.  I loved posting videos and photos of my journey and chatting with other women about their fitness journey. It was truly a great place on the web.

One of the goals that I worked on during my time with What’s Beautiful was an ultra marathon a month for a year. At first I didn’t even plan that, but by June of 2013 I had already finished 6 ultra marathons. I decided to build upon my 6 ultra marathons for the year and finish it out. Before I knew, it a year had passed and I was going strong! I made it to 17 ultra marathons in 17 months! I had gone much father than I thought I would!

As some of you might know, recently I was featured in Hammer Nutrition’s Endurance News Magazine in a couple different places. In one place, Hammer shared my ultra marathon journey. Before now, my 17 ultra marathon journey was only shared on the What’s Beautiful site (which is inactive now) and dailymile.com. I’m still amazed that I did a decent job documenting each ultra marathon!

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Hammer Nutrition Endurance News Magazine

At work, my good friend Kasey and I talked about the magazine and how I felt like the 17 ultra marathons I ran was so long ago! I almost feel like it’s invalid. She helped me realize that I should look back and talk about my journey to 17 ultra marathons in 17 months, heck, maybe I NEED that inspiration myself!

So here it is! I’ve included links to my dailymile.com account which summarizes each  of 17 ultra marathons I’ve run in 17 months! Right now I’m currently sitting at 22 ultra marathons (training runs and races), but now I have spaced them out much more than I used to!

1) Postponed New Years’ Day 50k – In January of 2013 I started training for my first 50 mile race. To train I decided 50k would be a great training distance. I started off January with a 50k that I planned to do on New Years’ Day. That didn’t happen because of some chilly Wisconsin temperatures. Instead, I pushed it back a few days. Still I remember my water in my Camelbak freezing by mile 5. It was a struggle but I made it through with some help from friends.

2) John Dick Memorial 50k – This was my second ultra marathon of the year and my 2nd 50k race. I fought through snow and temps below 20 degrees but still managed to have fun with friends on the trails.

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John Dick Memorial 50k Starting line

3) Snowy Trails Training  50k – My 3rd ultra marathon of the year was a training run. I ran 50k on trails alone! That was rough. The snow was so deep and I had to eventually take it to the bike path because the trails had slowed me down so much.

4) Potawatomi Trail Races – My 4th ultra marathon of the year was another race, my first 50 miler the Potawatomi Trail races! Tons of hills, creek crossings and single track fun! I spent most of the day smiling! I loved every moment!

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Potawatomi Trail Run 50 miles

5) Governor Dodge 50k -My 5th ultra marathon was another training run. Shortly after I finished Potawatomi I signed up for my first 100 miler! I kept training hard! This run was out at Governor Dodge State park. The horse trails out there are 15.3 miles! Two loops of horse trails was perfect ultra training. I remember battling a random hail storm too!

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Finished 32 miles on the horse trails.

6) Ultra Ragnar – Even though some might not consider this official, I ran 37.5 miles so I count it. For me, Ultra Ragnar was probably the best training for my ultras because of the lack of sleep!

7) Dances With Dirt – I signed up for dances with dirt on a whim at the last minute. Looking back, it was probably the most difficult race I had ever done. We had to climb the bluff twice and battle some crazy heat! At the time I really hated this race, but I’m so glad I ran it!

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Hurting at Dances With dirt

8)  Governor Dodge State Park.  – Loop 2 – I guess I liked to torture myself out on those horse trails. This one went much smoother than the other! I broke it up to two different loops.

9) Hallucination 100 – My 9th ultra marathon was such an amazing experience. It took a lot out of me, but was worth every bit of energy!

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Start of Hallucination 100

10) Jen’s Birthday Run 34 miles – My 10th Ultra marathon for the year was special because it was my best friend Jen’s Birthday Miles. 34 miles around Janesville! So glad she spent the day with me! We started out with trails but took it to the road and basically made it up as we went along!

11) Skelly 50k and Relay – My 11th Ultra marathon was organized and planned mostly by my friend Jen, I helped a little! We asked friends to join us for the Skelly 50k and Relay. Country roads, wind, cows and fun! Had a blast out there!

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Skelly 50k and Relay Group starters
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Jen and I finishing the Skelly 50k

12) Train Wreck 50 miles – My last ultra marathon in 2013 was the Inaugural Train Wreck 50. Jen and I ran this together up in Northern Kettle. I honestly didn’t think we would finish. I remember it being so unbelievably dark. We couldn’t see the trails, and there were only a few trail markers and only a few racers. I seriously thought we’d get lost. We found our way and finished the race together. To be fair, she dragged me in, she ran much stronger than me that day!

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Train Wreck 50 Mile Finishers

13) 50k Training Roads – My 13th ultra marathon was in January 2014 and I ran a 50k training run on roads. I started off with some friends and finished up solo! I remember trying to outrun some freezing rain. Oh Wisconsin can be such a beast for winter!

14) John Dick Memorial 50k – In February of 2014 I headed back to the John Dick 50k for another race! I remember barfing at the end of this race! Once again we battled snow and cold temperatures.  I barely pulled off with a 1st Woman finisher win.

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John Dick Memorial 50k

15) Frozen Caboose Training Run – March 2014, I think this was probably the most inspiring group run I’ve ever experienced. I remember snow, slick roads, wind, and chilly temps. Jen and I organized our running friends to run 30 miles with us. She did most of the organizing again. We ran a bunch of different groups with a bunch of different people from Janesville! It was seriously great!

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Part of the group running the Frozen Caboose.

16) Kettle Training run + Treadmill -My April run and 16th ultra marathon was a bit of a mess. I headed out with my friend Jason with hopes to do an entire 50k on trails. He ended up running 13 with me, so I kept going for another 12 miles until I got lost, ran out of water and fuel. It started raining and got pretty dark under the tree cover, so I headed to the treadmill to finish up with more miles on the treadmill. This run was definitely a training run that prepared me for the worst. I had to be flexible!

17) Ice Age 50 miles – my 17th Ultra marathon was the Ice Age 50 in 2014. I have such mixed feelings about this one. I had a great race, felt amazing, raced hard, had a blast and did it all without a crew or pacers but this race also signifies the end of my streak.

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Ice Age Trail 50 2014


Right now, looking back I feel like I’ve lost some of my edge but I’m so thankful to have the ultra experiences and awesome friends to share them with. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be in shape to do something like this again, hopefully one day soon!